Meet Artist Brian Cattell
Brian Cattelle is a photo-based artist who is disrupting traditions through unusual subjects and exploring various methods of recording light that question the definition of photography.
Brian’s work tends to lean on the lonely side of humanity, a place that we all experience and a place from which we can all grow. He also has an interest in exploring the weird and the strange. It is his belief that by doing so he encourages the audience to question their reality and the importance of it.
He hopes people will begin to search beyond their current scope of understanding and open up their minds to a world they otherwise have ignored or better yet allow for the creation of a
a world that does not even exist.
My story starts in 1982 when I was born during an April blizzard in Maine. The rare and disruptive event might have been symbolic of what was to come. I was always very creatively inclined. When I was old enough to love toy cars I built giant elaborate cities out of cardboard and tape for my cars to roam. In my early teens, I sold duct tape wallets to the local gift shop downtown. But it was in high school I found photography. I was getting into a bit of trouble, smoking weed, and skipping class, and for the most part, these things were most important above all else, but it was the photography class I could not deny. Every second of the day I could spare. I was there making something new. I loved it. But no one told me it was something I could do. I was directed towards some sort of career.
I leaned toward graphic design and advertising. I went to college for both. I managed alright and graduated with a BA in advertising and a BA in New Media, but it was rough. I was pretty deep in addiction and alcoholism at this point. Despite my addiction, I managed to get into a prestigious school for advertising in Norway. I thought this would be the answer to my problems, but it was not. I was well suited for the creative field and excelled in developing great ideas, but my execution was lacking due to my other priorities. Eventually, it was all too much to bear and I ended up in rehab.
After over a year of trial and error, I finally managed to find a new sober lifestyle. And it was in this sober life that I rediscovered photography. I was working as a web designer in an office. It was an easy job, reliable no one was hassling me. But I was miserable, stuck in a box staring at a computer screen building someone else’s dream, helping them pay for their mansion. This wasn’t the life I wanted for myself. In a stroke of good fortune, I won a photo contest, a huge photo contest, 10k in photo equipment and 20k in cash. With my newfound confidence, I paid off a bunch of debt and quit my job to embark on my first major photo project BARE USA.
I traveled to all 50 states photographing nudes in abandoned locations. The project took 3 years to complete but I did it. I have since moved on to other projects, one major one being for the treatment center Caron. I made gratitude portraits where participants expressed gratitude for their sobriety and we captured that message in a creative portrait. The project was hugely important to me and made me feel as if my photography had an importance and impact on this world.
I have since moved on to experimenting with a number of subjects. One of my favorites to date has been Gummo Land. A Polaroid project inspired by cult classic movies and rejected art that celebrates the weird, awkward, and strange. It was with this project that I began to explore the NFT space selling my work as digital images on the blockchain. This exploration has opened up the doors to an entirely new community and brought with it new opportunities I had never had before.
One emerging opportunity was to do the PR photos for the rock band Avenged Sevenfold for their new album “Life is But a Dream”
They say it’s not easy to be an artist. In some respects that is true, the fear, the rejection, and financial stability. On the other hand, I have no choice. It’s what I have to do. If I don’t the depression will start creeping in. There is something I have to say to the world, I can’t tell you exactly what that is but I’m trying to communicate it anyway.
On this path of being an artist, I have been given access to incredible places, seen amazing things, and lived a life of freedom, most only dream of. Despite all the difficulties I haven’t had a boss in over 8 years which is good because, well, let’s face it, I can’t have someone telling me what to do, it just doesn’t work.
What does work, is living my truth. Art is my truth and I’m in it for life,
there’s no turning back now.
BARE USA is a book created out of a nationwide fine art photography project that delves into the study* of natural beauty in contrast with man-made decay. This contrast is explored by photographing nude art models in abandoned locations nationwide.
This project was created to make art, to create something beautiful where there once was nothing, to produce new compelling images that spark the spirit of adventure, to ignite the imagination, and to evoke emotion.
BARE USA shares the excitement that comes from exploring and photographing forbidden landscapes of decay. These crumbling structures create compositions that are difficult to find anywhere else. There’s also something quite compelling and inherently beautiful about the natural shapes of the female form. The project does not focus on the false ideas we have been force-fed through popular media rather it focuses on real women, as they are, as they’re meant to be, naturally beautiful in every way.
On a personal level, BARE USA aimed to challenge common discomforts with nudity, its presence, photographing it, and discussing it. Nudity is natural and this project shows that it’s safe to embrace it. BARE USA also tells interesting stories about people and places across the United States in a unique way.
EXPLORE & GET LOST